If you have been following my insights and blogs at Ecosystm, it won’t come as a surprise that I am a fan of foldable devices. I have owned the Z Fold3 for over a year now. In that year, I found myself reaching for my tablet less often as the larger screen on the Z Fold3 was enough for most of my needs. Most apps were resized appropriately and provided an improved user experience, and the upgraded OS with a MacOS style application bar made it even easier to switch between applications.
The larger screen of the foldable form factor boosted my productivity too – I could use multiple applications and respond to an email with the content’s source (PDF, Excel file, website, etc.) also open – meaning far less flicking between apps, which isn’t as easy on a smartphone compared to a laptop or a desktop computer. The computer style view for messages and emails (with the email list on the left and the actual email on the right) was brilliant. And I enjoyed using the external screen as a preview screen for taking selfies (I already have my work cut out in making selfies look good! So, being able to see the picture in advance helps a lot).
However, Fold3 had its imperfections. The slightly narrow front screen made typing difficult when the device was folded – I primarily used it to check the status of things (such as turning my coffee machine on/off, checking my solar production, etc.). The inside screen also had durability issues. After a year, Samsung installed screen protector was coming off, and then, the right inner screen gave up completely on me. That said, Samsung has been excellent at fixing these issues under warranty.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 – Enhanced Features
With the launch of the new Z Fold4, I was keen to get my hands on a trial device, and the good people at Samsung and their PR agency arranged that for me. I have now spent two weeks with this device. Despite it being similar in size to the Z Fold3, the upgrades do make a real difference:
The few extra mm of width on the front screen makes it much more usable – I can now use this screen for typing messages and entering data. I still prefer the larger screen for things such as consuming content and typing longer emails. But the outside screen is usable for more than just checking the status of systems or apps.
The shorter height and the wider screen mean that the inside screen now feels more “expansive” – more of a tablet experience – and is getting closer to an iPad mini. This makes consuming and creating content easier and more enjoyable. As an avid tablet user, even with the Z Fold3, I would hesitate when going out, wondering if I needed to take my iPad with me. I noticed that I did not hesitate with the Z Fold4 – I was fine without my tablet.
Typically, newer phones feature improved cameras. This is certainly the case with the Z Fold4 – the camera feels faster than the Fold3, taking lesser time to focus and take pictures. And the images too are sharper and richer.
The screen warranty has also improved – perhaps in acknowledgement of the issues with the Z Fold3 screen. There are specials offering screen replacements for a low cost, even if you damage the screen, as well as discounts on Samsung Care+, which offers two replacement devices in 24 months.
The only comment I have is that it is the most slippery phone I have used so far! It didn’t come with a protective case and in two weeks, I have dropped this phone more times than I have dropped any other phone in the past few years! It has slipped off seats and desks as well as out of my pocket and hands. Although, it does claim to “stand up to life’s bumps and fumbles” and this has been accurate so far (as it does not even have a scratch on it yet – which is a surprise as it has hit wood, tiles, and concrete pretty hard!). But if I were keeping the device for any longer, I would immediately purchase a case!
Who Will Use It Most?
Whether this device is right for you depends on your device use patterns. I do believe there is a case for businesses to invest in foldables – particularly for employees who share content one on one with clients or prospects, or those who want to be more productive and be away from their desks without lugging a laptop. Anyone who is considering a flagship phone with a larger screen (iPhone Pro Max or Pixel 7 Pro) should take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4. You will be pleasantly surprised with the quality and capability of this device. I know I will be sad to see it go when I hand it back to Samsung!